With wintertime comes the holidays, festivities, and fun. Winter can bring blankets of beautiful white snow, a frosty chill in the air, and a postcard picturesque landscape. It can also bring dry air into your home. Dry air is more than just a nuisance; it can lead to health problems including more colds and infections. Here's why dry air is so damaging and what you can do about it.
What Causes Dry Air in the Winter?
When wintertime comes around, so does dry air. But why does your home get so dry in the winter? One reason is that cold air doesn't hold as much moisture as warm air, so it is naturally drier outside. Couple that with your furnace pulling in outside air and heating it, which further dries out what little moisture remains.
Problems Associated with Dry Air
What kinds of problems can you have with dry air inside your home? Dry air can seriously affect your health as well as cause damage to your home.
- Static shock — Unpleasant to the touch, it can also harm electronics such as computers, smartphones, and other devices.
- More colds — Without enough moisture, your respiratory system becomes drier and unable to purge itself of unwanted bacteria, viruses, and other foreign matter. You get sicker because you're body isn't able to properly defend itself.
- Nosebleeds — Your nose is likely to become dry, which makes it itchy and more susceptible to nosebleeds.
- Dry skin — Dry air in the wintertime leads to drier skin, including chapped lips, chapped and cracked hands, and flaking and itching all over.
- Dries out your home — When the air is dry, your house loses moisture in vital areas such as its wooden frame members, door jams, and window frames. Your home can start shifting and you may have trouble closing doors, opening windows, and have uneven floors. Too much drying can seriously affect the structure of your home.
- Dries out your possessions — Dry air doesn't just affect you and your home; it also affects your possessions. Your furniture can dry out—leather, vinyl, and wood can crack, stuffing can become less resilient, and your possessions can become brittle.
How to tell if you have dry air
How do you know if you have dry air? You can measure the humidity levels in your home with a hygrometer (relatively inexpensive to purchase). Your home should have humidity in the range of 35 percent to 60 percent, with 40 to 50 percent being ideal. Other ways to tell include:
- You have static electricity
- You and your family are getting more colds and flu
- You and your family members have dry, itchy skin
- You or a family member gets nosebleeds frequently
- You and your family get more sinus infections
What You Can Do to Raise Humidity Levels
Dry air is a fact of winter, but you don't have to endure it in your home. You can take steps to combat dry air. Here are some helpful tips:
- Keep a hygrometer in your house to know what your humidity levels are, so you can take action when it starts becoming too dry.
- Weatherize your house by caulking and sealing places where air leaks into your home. Caulk around windows, doors, and other areas where cold air comes in.
- Run humidifiers in rooms where you and your family spend the most time.
- Invest in a whole-house humidifier to ensure that once your furnace warms the air that it has enough moisture to make you feel better.
Once you’ve invested in a whole-house humidifier or taken another measure to bolster humidity levels in your home, you’ll feel it. Getting rid of dry air can make your whole house feel better, mentally and physically.
If you want to discuss your home humidity levels, contact a specialist today. Our network of specialists are people who can work with you to identify the problem and provide a solution. We can be a part of the solution. Indoor air quality is important to every home, especially in the colder months.